We’re expanding our Encyclopedia of Jewish Women and we need your help! Know an extraordinary Jewish woman whose story should be told? Nominate her to be included!
Close [x]

Show [+]


You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler pioneered a new style of abstract expressionist painting that earned her the respect of the art world and inspired other artists like de Kooning in new directions. Frankenthaler trained with a number of different artists through high school and college before she turned to abstract expressionism and began creating a series of paintings including her revolutionary Mountains and Sea just before her twenty-fourth birthday. In these paintings, she combined the drip techniques of Jackson Pollack with her own innovation of thinning oil paints until they soaked into the canvas like watercolors, creating breathtaking, disembodied color fields. The painter Morris Louis later said of her soak-stain technique, “She was a bridge between Pollack and what was possible.” Frankenthaler’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, from her first solo exhibition at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 1951 to retrospectives at the Jewish Museum in New York, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim, and MOMA.

More on: Painting
Helen Frankenthaler, 1956
Full image
Helen Frankenthaler in 1956.
Courtesy of Gordon Parks/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images.
Date of Birth
December 12, 1928
Place of Birth
New York, New York
Date of Death
December 27, 2011

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Helen Frankenthaler." (Viewed on March 23, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/frankenthaler-helen>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now

Sign Up for JWA eNews


Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs